Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Bearcat ... and related links

Jack the
Cat trees a bear (CNN story)

Selection of cats doing strange/funny things -- includes a short clip of another cat/bear confrontation near the end (just before 1 minute).

Another cat with a dog

Kitten & Puppy

Assorted cat-related comments in response to the 'cat trees bear' story/video.



What ees he compensating for? I ask joo.

Tambien, I've chased bigger.

(bathes in feigned disinterest)


El Gato Negro! | Homepage | 06.11.06 - 3:32 pm |

My old man raised running walker and blue-tick hounds for hunting purposes, generally keeping a dozen or so at a time in a big-ol' chicken-wire fence. And though no one in my family were what you'd call "cat people", we usually had at least one mean-eyed yard cat that some jackass dropped off prowling around the yard. When we were kids, one of my cousins - a genuinely mean little s--t that grew up to be one helluva upstanding guy - threw the current yard cat into the dogpen with eleven walker hounds.
Now, walker hounds aren't particularly aggressive dogs. They'll chase something until it kills 'em, but they have no earthly clue what to do with whatever they might catch. Still, being playful and naturally given to chasing critters, they will kill a cat just due to being overly rambunctious.
So, little s--tass cousin throws the cat into the pen, baby brother runs to Momma to tattle, and Momma takes off to rescue the cat. In hardly no time, she runs back to the house, and somewhere in my parents' house is a picture of all 12 of them walker hounds backed into a corner, trying to crawl over each other to get away, and that mean-eyed cat just staring at 'em, flicking that tail back and forth.

I, for one, have no doubt that if they could figure out how to use can openers, house cats would take over the world in about a week.
Matt T. | 06.11.06 - 4:16 pm |

My beautiful Yin Lihn, now resting in the back yard next to her mother, was another such. Had her from three days old till she died in her 22nd year, generally peaceful (except when it came to getting her share of food), but tough when she had to be and an unbelievable purrer, you could hear her from the next room.
She went fifteen pounds, compact too. A neighbour cat, pure white, got into the habit of coming onto her porch and staring through the screen -- that's "f--- you" in cat language apparently. Yin Lihn would go ballistic, almost turn herself inside out like something from a Heinlein novel.
After putting up with this for half an afternoon, we said screw it and opened the screen door. Our girl waited about one eighth of a second, a little surprised, then charged right into the white cat. Actually hitting with paws raised, I swear, it was like snow coming down, all that fine white fur thrown up in the air. She pushed that poor cat down the stairs and there they sat hunkered down staring at each other from a foot away.
For fifteen minutes, not moving a muscle, either one. Then the white one verrrry carefully starts moving away in reverse, one deliberate, backward step at a time. At twenty feet he lights out like no tomorrow. Our gal lazily moved her head to follow his escape, nothing more.

Never saw that cat again.
MikeB | 06.12.06 - 11:11 am |

Cats can be very territorial. My parents' late cat, Frazier, did not like intruders into his territory.
His territory was Houston.
G Jones | 06.11.06 - 9:37 pm |

"I, for one, have no doubt that if they could figure out how to use can openers, house cats would take over the world in about a week."

Housecats already are the dominant species on Earth. They long ago figured out how to control humans and get them to use the can openers for them.

Haven't you noticed? Cats in general are the single most efficient predator on land, but housecats have evolved to where they don't have to bother with such "iffy" propositions of actually hunting for a living. Instead they have tamed people to provide for them.
It is my suspicion that our house cats have selectively bred humans for increased ability to use tools. The early association of house cats and humans was the first human civilization in Egypt, where cats were recognized and worshipped as Gods. Coincidence? I don't think so.
No doubt they felt that they could have more power from a less obvious position than as formal Gods. You will also notice that there has never been an advanced city-based human civilization that was not associated with cats.
Just remember. Contrary to all our myths, God walks on four paws with little switchblades inside each toe. When you please God, God sometimes purrs for you.
When you realize how much work we humans will go to to get that purr, you tell me who is dominant?
Rick B | Homepage | 06.12.06 - 7:15 am |
Old observation bearing repeating here: A dog thinks, wow, these humans feed me, love me, take care of me. They must be gods. The cat of course thinks, wow, these humans love me, feed me, take care of me. I must be God.

Sunday, 25 June 2006

Live life well. Fail often.

Live life well. Fail often. And to those who have passed: R.I.P.
Mr Cranky on Life, Death & so on
... my friend asked a question: "Why should I live a life that brings me no joy?" That question, along with the passing of these three people, has produced quite a bit of thought on the topic of life, its meaning, and what the whole point might be. Pondering that question is basically a cliché, but I’m going to do it anyway.

Saturday, 24 June 2006

Assorted: Amusing & Big Picture

Elements of Subway-Announcement Style By Ken Krimstein (at McSweeney's — a very good site)

Video (from of an earlier event involving Buzz Aldrin of which you may have heard. You may have to view it on a fatter pipe.

Some thoughts on Pharyngula not altogether orthogonal to discussions about humanity I've had with friends.

A piece of Sequential Art commenting on some of the issues raised in the above discussion.


Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Torture comes from the Latin word "to twist"

As the LA Times reports:
WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has decided to omit from new detainee policies a key tenet of the Geneva Convention ... the exclusion of the Geneva provisions may make it more difficult for the administration to portray such incidents [as Abu Ghraib and Haditha] as aberrations. And it undercuts contentions that U.S. forces follow the strictest, most broadly accepted standards when fighting wars.

“The rest of the world is completely convinced that we are busy torturing people,” said Oona A. Hathaway, an expert in international law at Yale Law School. “Whether that is true or not, the fact we keep refusing to provide these protections in our formal directives puts a lot of fuel on the fire.”

... The move to restore U.S. adherence to Article 3 [of the Geneva Conventions] was opposed by officials from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office and by the Pentagon’s intelligence arm, government sources said ... The military lawyers, known as judge advocates general, or JAGs, have concluded that they will have to wait for a new administration before mounting another push to link Pentagon policy to the standards of Geneva.

James D. Macdonald ::: Torture: It’s the New Black

This argument to practicality is one designed for ... the ones who think that Torture Works...
Even if it did work, which we know it does not [see all below], torture would still be wrong because it coarsens the torturer, betrays our ideals, and hardens the resolve of our enemies.

Some examples:
  • story/ opinion/ feature/ 2004/ 06/ 21/ torture_algiers/ print.html Torture/ Torture_We_Trust.html 53162
  • (You might also Google on "torture warrants".)

    June 06, 2006, 11:17 AM: makinglight/ archives/ 007621.html#129490
    Remember that the Spanish Inquisition abolished torture in their courts on the grounds that it doesn't yield true information.

    Say what you will about the Spanish Inquisition, you have to admit that they had a certain ... expertise ... in the matter.

    (Speaking of the Inquisition, for the first twenty years of its existence it wasn't allowed torture at all. When torture was introduced it was under strict guidelines: torture was to be applied only once, it was supposed to be of such a manner and degree that it did not imperil life or limb, and it was only supposed to be applied when manifold and weighty proofs showed that the accused was guilty and was lying. Torture was only supposed to be applied when all other expedients had already been exhausted. Boy does that ever sound familiar....)

    June 06, 2006, 04:26 PM: makinglight/ archives/ 007621.html#129617
    Recall that the North Vietnamese excuse for torturing our troops was that since we were involved in an illegal war, our troops were unlawful combatants and the Geneva Conventions didn't apply to them.

    It was a false argument then (there is no class of person not covered by the Geneva Conventions), and it's a false argument now.

    June 06, 2006, 04:47 PM: makinglight/ archives/ 007621.html#129626
    Many years ago, I was in SERE School. One of the parts of that was the Prisoner of War sequence. We were questioned (using methods that didn't result in permanent disability). Part of that was teaching us how to resist questioning. The other part was training the interrogators -- they'd been instructed to learn about a certain subject that their prisoners didn't know anything about. They got the information anyway, and constructed an elaborate and self-consistent story. It was all fantasy. This was teaching them the limits of harsh interrogation.